Author, urbanist, and activist, Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) caused quite a stir in the field of city planning with her 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” In it, Jacobs asserts that the urban renewal projects of the 1950s destroyed the vibrancy of the very cities and neighborhoods they intended to revitalize. Many former residents, not to mention other experts, wholeheartedly agree with that assessment of the project that demolished Boston’s West End. That’s why The West End Museum is hosting Jane’s Walk at the West End Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. All are welcome to this free event.
Jane’s Walk at The West End Museum invites visitors to see Jane Jacobs’ lecture at Boston College in which she discussed what happened to the West End under urban renewal and the injustices suffered by the neighborhood’s residents. The video will run on a loop throughout the day, and docents will guide visitors to areas of the Museum’s exhibits, “The Last Tenement” and “The Housing Act of 1949,” that relate to Jacobs’ ideas and principles.
A champion of the voices of everyday people, Jacobs became both a respected dissident and an idolized folk hero. A year after her death, friends and colleagues launched Jane’s Walk to honor her memory and legacy through citizen-led urban walking tours. In the 12 years since, Jane’s Walk has grown into a worldwide celebration.